The greatest political satire of the decade — this funny animated movie about the Politico — appeared yesterday on some Web 2.6 internet website we’d never heard of before. So, being Washington journalists who WIN THE MOTHERFUCKING MORNING, we tracked down the writer and director, a “Peter Smith,” if that is his real name. And then we met in a wooded park in Vienna and exchanged Gmail chats through a “dead drop.”
PETER SMITH: Hey there — let me know when you’d like to talk. I’ll be around until about 7.
KEN LAYNE: Hello! I have refilled my coffee and have a few minutes now, if that’s ok w/ you.
KL: We never even click on the “political satire” tips because they’re always so awful, but this insane thing you’ve made is obviously an exception. The sort of universal response from the editors and commenters at Wonkette is, “Oh I’m so ashamed to get all these references.” So we have to ask, why do you know so much about the Evil Politico and its bat cave?
PS: Haha. Well, first I should say that none of the jokes are based on any “inside knowledge” of Politico‘s operations. Merely observations from someone who has unfortunately read way too much of that particular news outlet.
KL: BUT HOW DID YOU KNOW BEN SMITH’S STATION WAGON HAS A TRUNK?! (Yeah, the Politico is pretty transparent.)
PS: Haha, well if Smith does in fact have a station wagon with a trunk, then I’ve picked up far too much subconsciously from reading his blog. That was just a bit of creative license.
KL: The synthesized/OK Computer voices work so well with that script, because the Politico editors really do seem to be clumsily trying to imitate humans … you get the feeling Mike Allen truly believes some cardboard sleaze like Mitt Romney is “traditional and dignified.”
PS: Yeah, you know with a lot of that it was just coincidence — I had to work with the format, characters, and scenes that this software makes available, and it ended up working out okay.
KL: I screwed around with that movie maker site last night and it is not easy to get comedy from it.
PS: It can be frustrating — the characters speak pretty slowly so it’s hard to have people cut each other off. This is actually the first time I used it …. I was inspired by a video fishbowl posted yesterday about publicists spamming you about embargoes.
KL: For one reason or another, you’ve read way too much of that website/newspaper. And it’s got a pretty small readership, because who really fucking cares beyond other reporters who have to know what idiot thing is “winning the morning.” Do you think there’s ANYBODY who reads it seriously?
PS: As a matter of fact, I think there are people who take it seriously, and that’s what really bothers me and was the inspiration for this. I see people discussing their “scoops” as though they are based in reality. Granted, sometimes they will be the first outlet to report a specific comment from a news conference, and sure that counts as a real event. But all their analytic-y stuff is merely intellectual inside-the-beltway masturbation
KL: If you have a charitable definition of “intellectual” …
PS: Right right, good point, I should clarify that.
PS: Intellectual was not meant to be a qualitative term there. I mean, Politico is just so rife for commentary that this parody just came flowing out. They wrote an article a few weeks back criticizing “the mainstream media” for paying too close attention to Sarah Palin’s every move. For christ’s sake, they essentially have a beat writer who EXCLUSIVELY covers Sarah Palin.
KL: It just seems so Conventional Wisdom that it has no actual audience. The Palin fan-slobs sure don’t have any respect for the Politico, the Teabaggers dismiss it the same way they dismiss John McCain …. I assume liberals just laugh at it, if they remember how to laugh, and everybody in DC media just seems to think it’s this awful joke that won’t go away.
PS: You know, I wish I agreed with you about that. But their sheer amount of traffic gives them a certain influence; they have reporters on TV all day; and I worry that their financial success is going to force other outlets to copy them.
KL: It’s hard to imagine anything that could make Wolf Blitzer, say, any dumber than he was *before* the Politico. Anyway, you should save that thing to YouTube before this xtranormal goes bust next month, like all web businesses.
PS: Just did that actually, hang on, I will grab you the link.
KL: History must remember the Politico only with this weird video.
Yeah I had never heard of xtranormal before yesterday, and thus far my experience has not been great, as far as reliability goes.
KL: All right I will post some transcript as an excuse to post the YouTube video, for posterity [REDACTED] and i can have jim newell leave you the [REDACTED] in a paper bag in the Watergate parking garage or something.
PS: Haha no worries. I don’t make my [REDACTED] is more than enough. Thanks for posting it in the first place. BTW [REDACTED] although no final decisions on that.
KL: Oh good, let us know. Okay I will not pry at your SECRET IDENTITY, but do you work in actual politics or media? (We know you are really Robert Gibbs, I mean.)
PS: I do work in DC media/politics, which is why I’m unfortunately forced to absorb Politico‘s toxins regularly.
KL: We will soon invent a mental cocktail to cleanse the brain after reading any Politico feature.
PS: Wait one sec — if you do [REDACTED] because then they’ll send their henchmen out to interrogate every [REDACTED].
KL: Hahahahah jesus they are worse than the Stasi. Ok, will do. Thanks man!